Introduction: Front Entrance Bench

We have been living in our place for almost 2.5 years now, and we wanted to do some painting, and some small changes. We wanted to open up our front entrance a little bit, and remove the closet. We never really liked the wood panel inside the closet (not sure why they put it there to begin with but oh well!). We also found that the shelving space on the top was too high up to make it usable (I am 6'1 and I can barely reach it). There is a pipe that comes from outside that goes into this closet and then into the basement for gas (terrible design, but something we had to work with). We decided that building a bench would be a good option to open up the area a bit more, while still being able to provide storage for winter gloves, hats, etc and still have a space to hang our jackets.

I am not going to list all the tools and materials that I used for this as you can go about it many different ways. I will be mentioning what I used as I go along with each step.

Note: I am by no means an expert or even suggesting this is the best way of doing what we did. We are happy with the results and just wanted to share what we did and how we did it. :)

Step 1: Remove Old Closet

First things first, we needed to remove the old before putting in the new!

Pretty easy to remove the doors. They are basic sliding doors and just needed to pop them off the track. Here you can really see the panels and where the gas pipe is. There is also a small bench there that looks like it is hiding some piping. I will not be doing anything with this except building over it.

Step 2: Remove Shelf

Using a drill, I took out all the bolts from the shelf. I was careful when removing this, as I will be putting it in my basement to use as storage. The shelves are in great condition and barely used since they were so high up

Step 3: Remove Panels

I used a small flat crowbar and started with the edges and just started removing. Since the panels were installed with single strips (not sure why) there were a lot of panels to remove. When they were installed, they went a little crazy with the nails, but nails made it really easy to remove. Once I was able to get an edge, simply pulling them out did the trick.

Step 4: Demo Completed

Now that the removal of the closet is complete, can see all the wholes and patch work that needs to be done. This allowed me to begin taking measurements and really planning on what the bench will look like at the end

Step 5: Mudding the Wall

Grabbed myself some mud from home depot. I grabbed the minimal dust mud since I had to pretty much mud the whole wall. I used a smaller knife to spread the mud. This was because I was trying to minimize costs and used what I already had available. I recommend using a bigger/wider one to cover more of the wall at once.

Step 6: Build Bench Frame

To build this, I used 2x4s I picked up at Home Depot. I started with making sure the pipe would be covered. I pretty much used screws to do the outline first, making sure to box in the area where the pipe is (also creating a ledge to be able to put a picture, keys, etc here).

Then I created the sitting area with support beams. Again, I am by no means a professional, and I am sure there are 100 other ways that are better than what I did. With that being said, I am pleased with how it ended up and I was able to get on top of it and jump up and down with no give at all (I am not a small man).

I used a skill saw to cut the pieces. Remember to measure twice and cut once. I used deck screws to hold everything in place.

Step 7: Drywall Bench

Once the frame was complete, it is time to put the drywall up. After some consideration, we decided to do a bench that would have a seat that would lift up instead of doors that will open.

Using drywall screws, I mounted the drywall to the frame and added metal corner pieces to help keep it in place.Due to the size of the dry wall pieces, I had to add a couple extra pieces of wood to help hold the drywall securely.

Step 8: Mudding the Bench

Now that the drywall was put up, it was time to mud! Doing the same thing that I did on the wall, I spread the mud over everything and smoothed it out.

Remember to allow it to dry properly and thoroughly.

During this step, I made a mistake. I thought the mud was dry and started to sand, not realizing that it was not dry all the way through (where I had to use more mud than other spots). I had to fix the spots that I messed up by sanding and put a floor fan on it to help dry. Due to timing, I let this dry over the course of a week (only working on this during the weekends)

Step 9: Prep to Sand

Put up a tarp to block the dust from getting to the rest of the house. Ensure to use proper protection when sanding. I first used just a face mask to keep the dust out of my nose and mouth. This ended up making me more hot and the dust got into my eyes (this sucks and you do not want that)

Quick rinse and a change and got my goggles on. Goggles made it harder to see because they got fogged up from being so hot. Finished sanding everything

Step 10: Painting the Wall

Taped off the bench so that we could paint the walls (along with the rest of our main floor).

Preparation is key. It may take a long time to tape off everything, but if you do it right, it will look better.

Step 11: Time to Paint!

Now that the walls are painted and dry it is time to paint the bench. We wanted to use a colour that will make the bench stand out. We prepped the bench by taping off the wall and began painting, then letting it dry before putting on a second coat of paint. Once dry, remove the tape.

Step 12: Cutting the Seat

For the seat, we used a sheet of MDF board. To cut it to shape, I placed the board on the top and drew the outline in the board. Using a skill saw, I cut it to shape, making sure to leave a little extra on the end that I will trim off after

Step 13: Attaching Hinges

I picked up a couple cheap door hinges for this and did a couple different test fits to see where the optimal places would be. Ultimately I opted to put the hinges on the top, as it opened better this way.

Step 14: Adding Pneumatic Lifts

I added 2 pneumatic lift arms to this, to help hold up the seat to access the storage below and to allow the top to close without slamming into little fingers.

Step 15: Adding Stuffing

After being happy with the test fit, it was time to add the stuffing. I took apart the hinges and lift to make it easier to work with. I used adhesive spray on the top of the MDF board (seat) and began to layer on the stuffing. I used the spray in between each layer. Once done, let it dry

This step may not have really been needed, as I will be putting a cover over this which will also keep it in place.

Step 16: Finish Seat and Stuff

I started with 1 corner and worked my way around. I wanted to make sure that I had an opening to stuff the seat some more. This step takes some time. Starting on 1 corner and working your way around, begin to pull and staple the edge to the underside of the seat. When doing this, try to avoid the material from bunching up. You want to have a smooth finish at the end. Once I was finished with this, I stuffed more stuffing into the seat and then stapled it closed.

Use scissors to cut the extra material off.

Step 17: Attach Seat to Bench

Once done with the seat, I reattached the hinges and lift and tested to make sure that it opens and closes as designed.

I built something similar to go over my fireplace (see other instrucables) and learned that the stuff will get compressed over time. I decided to take a couple pieces of board and beer cases to add some weight to it to help compress it down.

This step is not needed, but wanted to compress it as much as I could.

Step 18: Finished Product

Remove the boards and beer cases and now marvel in the finished product :)

The last thing that I will need to do here is just add the trim to the bottom of the bench to match the rest of the front entrance.

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